Brendan Brooks shrugged off a 3000-mile, 20-hour journey to make an immediate impression in Fife Flyers’ weekend challenge matches against EC Peiting.
The 37-year-old scored the opening goal in Saturday’s 5-0 win and was impressive throughout, despite only arriving from Canada a few hours ahead of face-off.
“I came in, said hello, got dressed and played a hockey game,” Brooks told the Press.
“Even though I had to fly straight in, and I was pretty tired, to be able to get on the ice right away with the guys was good.
“For the first time skating and playing together, we did pretty good.
“It seems like everyone is coming together and starting to gel right away.
“We played a team that was not at our level but, sometimes, that’s a good thing to build some confidence.
“To play a high-end team when you’ve had no practices can sometimes be a negative thing, so I think it worked out really well.
“We got a chance to feel the puck, get some room, get our hands and feet going, and it was a great two-game weekend for us.
“I got a few goals, I felt good skating, and hopefully it carries over to this weekend.”
Brooks is no stranger to Fife Ice Arena, having visited last season with rivals Braehead Clan, and he is looking forward to experiencing the rivalry from the opposite side this term.
“I know the support here has always been really good for the Fife team,” he said. “Last year, I got a lot of boos, so it’s nice to be on the right side of things.
“I’ve moved to other teams that were rivals in the past, but nothing as big as the Braehead-Fife rivalry. I’m excited about it – I’m a Flyer now and I’m here to help this team win.”
After winning the Gardiner Conference title with Clan last season, Brooks is hoping to help bring similar success to Fife.
“It’s always great to win something,” he explained. “We had our eyes on the big prize last year but we had some injuries at the wrong time, and that’s hockey.
“I got hurt, and a few others did too, and it was just bad timing. That’s just the way things are but it was nice to walk away with something, and I’m hoping to do something like that this year here.
“Every game is important in the Gardiner – and it’s becoming a better conference.
“It’s competing, if not on par, with the other conference. We beat a lot of the top teams with Braehead last year, and Fife did too. It’s just getting better every year. You have to turn up every game and that’s the beauty of it.”
Brooks will make an instant return to Braehead Arena this Sunday for a Challenge Cup tie against his former employers.
“I still have some friends there – guys I’ve known for a long time, either playing against or with,” he said.
“When you’re on the ice they are not your friends but, after the game, you’re friends again. I just leave it all on the ice and, when the game is over, you move on.”